A novel synthesis of polymeric CO via useful hard x-ray photochemistry

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We report on the synchrotron hard X-ray-induced decomposition of strontium oxalate (SrC2O4) pressurized to 7 GPa inside a diamond anvil cell (DAC). After some 4 h of irradiation in a white X-ray synchrotron beam, a dark reddish/brown region formed in the area of irradiation which was surrounded by a yellowish brown remainder in the rest of the sample. Upon depressurization of the sample to ambient conditions, the reacted/decomposed sample was recoverable as a dark brown/red and yellow waxy solid. Synchrotron infrared spectroscopy confirmed the strong presence of CO2 even under ambient conditions with the sample exposed to air and other strongly absorbing regions, suggesting that the sample may likely be polymerized CO (in part) with dispersed CO2 and SrO trapped within the polymer. These results will have significant implications in the ability to readily produce and trap CO2 in situ via irradiation of a simple powder for useful hard X-ray photochemistry and in the ability to easily manufacture polymeric CO (via loading of powders in a DAC or high volume press) without the need for the dangerous and complex loading of toxic CO. As a result, a novel means of X-ray-induced polymerization under extreme conditions has also been demonstrated.